Education: Ph.D. (2012) Cognitive Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Fun Fact About Me:
I have run two half marathons.
I first became interested in cognitive psychology as an undergrad at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. I enjoy teaching and guiding students. At Stony Brook University, the courses I developed and taught included Research Methods & Design and the Psychology of Music.
An engaging film can capture attention and make the surrounding world seem to disappear. Because films have realistic sound and images, and because they evoke the same types of cognitive processes that we use in our everyday lives, films are a useful tool for investigating psychological mechanisms in a laboratory setting. I use a blend of behavioral and neuroimaging methods to investigate the features of narratives that influence attention, create powerful memory traces, and cause the viewer to become changed, through learning new information and modifying attitudes and beliefs.
Awards and Publications
Dmochowski, J. P., Bezdek, M. A., Abelson, B. P., Johnson, J. S., Schumacher, E. H., & Parra, L. C. (2014). Audience preferences are predicted by temporal reliability of neural processing. Nature communications, 5.
Bezdek, M. A., Foy, J. E., & Gerrig, R. J. (in press). “Run for it!”: Viewers participate while watching film excerpts. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.
Gerrig, R. J., & Bezdek, M. A. (2013). Aesthetic Illusion in Film. In W. Wolf, W. Bernhart, & A. Mahler (Eds.), Immersion and Distance: Aesthetic Illusion in Literature and Other Media (pp. 89-112). Amsterdam, NL: Rodopi.
Bezdek, M. A., & Gerrig, R. J. (2008). Musical emotions in the context of narrative film. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 31, 578.
Tan, S. L., Spackman, M. P., & Bezdek, M. A. (2007). Viewers’ interpretations of film characters’ emotions: Effects of presenting music before or after a character is shown. Music Perception, 25, 135-152.